Free Super Bowl Picks: Packers vs. Steelers Keys to the Game

Last Updated: January 24th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are already getting set to do battle in the Lone Star State, and in order for you to make your Superbowl XLV picks, we have the three biggest keys to the game that you must remember that will probably determine the outcome of the game.

Key #1: The Steelers have to use experience to their advantage
When you look at the roster for the Steelers, you see a whole slew of men that have already won rings titles, many of which have helped Pittsburgh to two victories over the Super Bowl odds in their tenures wearing black and gold. QB Ben Roethlisberger, the heart and soul of this team, is arguably the most important player on the field, and he not only figured out how to do it as a young buck, who just relied on his defense and handed the ball off a ton, but he also did it in a shootout against a two-time Super Bowl MVP in QB Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals just three Super Bowls ago. There aren’t all that many coaches left in the league that can flash a Super Bowl ring in their locker room, but Head Coach Mike Tomlin is certainly one of them. He was the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl, and the youngest to ever win it, and now, he is the youngest to bring a team to the pinnacle of the NFL twice in his career. When the Steelers won their first title in this run with a very young team, Head Coach Bill Cowher had already coached in the Super Bowl once before, and he was able to use that experience to get through to his younger players. Unfortunately for Head Coach Mike McCarthy, he really doesn’t have that to rely on. Sure, DB Charles Woodson played in Super Bowl XXXVII with the Oakland Raiders, and DT Ryan Pickett did so in Super Bowl XXXVI with the St. Louis Rams, but aside from that, there isn’t a single player on this team that knows what it’s like to play in the biggest game of the season. Pittsburgh really needs to exploit that advantage to beat the Superbowl lines on February 6th.

Super Bowl XLV Odds at JustBet
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5
Green Bay Packers -2.5
Over/Under 46
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Key #2: The Packers need to figure out how to get into the face of Ben Roethlisberger
This is what the New York Jets had success with… sometimes. When Roethlisberger was kept in the pocket in the AFC Championship Game, he frequently made some mistakes. The pressure can really come from the outside, where Pittsburgh is very weak at the offensive tackle position, and this is a great thing for LB Clay Matthews, as these are the men that he is going to be going against. It’s when Big Ben breaks containment that things start to get hairy for the opponents. There might not be a signal caller that is better at escaping trouble and making something out of nothing than Roethlisberger in the entire league, and again, we have to stress the fact that he has really done it at every stage of the game in his career. Green Bay already has six INTs and 10 sacks so far in three playoff games this year. It really needs to make sure that Roethlisberger has hands in his face at all times and that he just doesn’t get to the outside, or these corners, no matter how great they are, just don’t stand a chance to win against guys like WR Mike Wallace, WR Antwaan Randle El, and WR Hines Ward.

Key #3: James Starks has to keep the Pittsburgh defense honest
We can be realistic when we say that Starks isn’t going to rush for 100 yards against the Pittsburgh defense in the Super Bowl, and we’re fairly sure that if he does, the Packers are going to be the champs and will beat the Super Bowl betting lines. However, the role that Starks has played, even though he has only averaged 3.76 yards per carry in the playoffs, is that he is taking some of the pressure off of QB Aaron Rodgers. Where this rookie from Buffalo has been all season long is beyond us, but he is clearly the best running back option that the Pack have had all season since losing RB Ryan Grant to a season ending ankle injury in Week 1. Starks, along with RB Brandon Jackson and RB John Kuhn, have to be able to keep Green Bay in front of the down and distance in this game. Punting is okay, but forcing Rodgers into situations in which he has to pick up third and long on a regular basis is going to create mistakes. The Steelers can overcome blunders every now and again. Odds have it, Green Bay won’t be able to. If Starks can’t at least get something going though, there is just going to be too much pressure on Rodgers, and he is going to be in for a very long game against a defense that just loves to make you one dimensional.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Monday, January 24th, 2011 @ 12:15 am (EST)
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